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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 3644

Mr JENKINS (Scullin) (18:46): I join with the many eloquent contributions that have been made to this motion of condolence for Margaret Whitlam AO. I am by self-admission an unreconstructed Whitlamite. The fact that Gough Whitlam led us out of a long 27 years of political wilderness is something that was of great importance in the way in which it has assisted modern Labor to look at itself as a true party of government. But it has been obvious from the contributions that have been made to this debate that Margaret Whitlam was very much part of a partnership that made that possible. Although I met Margaret, I have not had the opportunity that others have conveyed in this debate: to have been able to engage in discussions of issues with such an intelligent and bright person. But I am motivated in making this contribution because, as from time to time I am reminded, I am second generation, and my parents would want me to make a contribution that expressed, in the case of my late father and my mother, their high regard and esteem for Margaret, which I know came through because of the friendships that were of that period.

I know that for many people that I represent, especially migrants and families who came here in the postwar period and who developed the outer suburbs of the north of Melbourne and are the same people that have been represented here by a number of contributions—for instance, from those that have represented the western suburbs of Sydney—Margaret Whitlam was somebody of great merit and moment, somebody that they looked to. On their behalf as much as on behalf of my family, I express my deepest condolences to Gough and to the Whitlam family. In the passing of Margaret Whitlam we have lost a great Australian.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): I understand it is the wish of honourable members to signify at this stage their respect and sympathy by rising in their places.

Honourable members having stood in their places—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank the Federation Chamber.